The English (and New Zealanders, are, largely English: the Scots did settle Dunedin, but English settled the rest) love dogs. I posit the sonnet in this series as evidence: if Sydney starts Dear, why make you more of a dog than me/ I he does love, I burn, I burn in love then the affection to our furred companions has existed for as long as we have written English a modern can read without a crib.
But the affection one has for one's dogs is not that one has for the beloved. The pet's love is simpler, driven by attention and food.
And on this I would disagree: my dogs have a dog-wit, by which they can filch socks, meat, and our full attention.
Deere, why make you more of a dog then me?
If he doe loue, I burne, I burne in loue;
If he waite well, I neuer thence would moue;
If he be faire, yet but a dog can be;
Little he is, so little worth is he;
He barks, my songs thine owne voyce oft doth proue;
Bidden, perhaps he fetched thee a gloue,
But I, vnbid, fetch euen my soule to thee.
Yet, while I languish, him that bosome clips,
That lap doth lap, nay lets, in spite of spite,
This sowre-breath'd mate taste of those sugred lips.
Alas, if you graunt onely such delight
To witlesse things, then Loue, I hope (since wit
Becomes a clog) will soone ease me of it.
Sir Philip Sydney
My strong advice to any man is to not become the dog of a woman. Her mindless enforcer, her blanket, her unalloyed companion. My strong advice to any woman is to not silently obey every single thing the man you love says. For you both have wit, sense, and moral agency. For our actions, we are accountable.
It is not so with dogs. Their master or mistress has to give account for their behaviour. The analogy fails because man is not a dog.
And we should not give to dogs what belongs to man.